Zach Conti

  • G20, IMF and World Bank Negotiate COVID-19 Debt Relief and Aid Deals

    Hundreds of Faith Communities, Development and Human Rights Groups Press for More Aid

    Washington DC – World leaders met virtually for the Annual IMF and World Bank Meetings and moved forward several agreements on debt relief and aid for developing countries to combat the coronavirus crisis. In recent weeks, the Pope, G7, United Nations agencies and development groups called for a permanent debt reduction process.

    Hundreds of anti-poverty organizations, religious institutions and faith communities signed a letter to press the G20 and IMF on a pandemic response plan for developing countries. This weekend more than a hundred organizations and faith communities are organizing G20 petition drives, hosting educational events and dedicating worship services for, "Jubilee Weekend: Curing Poverty, Inequality and the Coronavirus.”

    "Before the pandemic hit newspaper frontpages, many developing countries already had poor health services, faced financial crises and inequality globally was on the rise," stated Eric LeCompte, a UN finance expert who heads the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. "As the coronavirus crisis became apparent, religious institutions and development groups led the calls for debt relief, protections for the vulnerable and aid for the developing world."

    Synagogues, churches, Muslim groups and faith communities are participating in a range of countries including Kenya, Ghana, Italy, Nigeria, France and Japan. Across the United States, events are planned in more than one hundred cities and towns from Chester, Pennsylvania to Sandy Springs, Georgia to Missoula, Montana and Lakewood, California.

    Jubilee USA Network, the convener of the actions that coincide with the IMF, World Bank and G20 meetings, is also organizing a running letter to world leaders on debt, tax and transparency responses to the COVID crisis. The letter currently counts more than 220 signatories that include some of the largest religious, development, labor, environmental and human rights organizations in the world.

    This week the IMF announced it would cancel debt payments for 29 of the world's poorest countries into the spring and the G20 agreed to suspend debt payments for 73 developing countries through next June. The most significant announcement was that the G20 would convene a special meeting in the next few weeks to agree on terms for a debt cancellation process for developing countries.

    "We've seen progress on some debt relief, but the big focus now needs to be on the process to permanently reduce debts of countries in crisis,” noted LeCompte.

    During the meetings, the IMF reported increased resources for concessional lending to the most vulnerable countries. Part of these contributions were from rich countries transferring IMF-issued global reserve funds or what are known as Special Drawing Rights.

    "Rich countries hold $176 billion of largely unused IMF-issued global reserve funds that they could donate for lending and debt relief,” said LeCompte. "The IMF could unlock access to trillions of dollars in new global reserve funds which translate into lifesaving resources in developing countries.”

    Major religious institutions lead the Jubilee USA letter to the IMF and G20. The signers include: The All Africa Conference of Churches, National Council of Churches, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and United Church of Christ Churches. The Unitarian Universalist Association and the largest representations of Quaker communities and Buddhist consortiums are on the letter. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a separate joint letter with Jubilee USA and Pope Francis called again for a debt relief process in his just released Encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

    Counting their membership in the millions, labor unions including the United Steelworkers (USW), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) joined faith groups in the G20 and IMF letter. Other signers include human rights organizations like Amnesty International USA and Pax Christi and also environmental advocates ranging from Amazon Watch to Friends of the Earth. Development groups were represented on the Jubilee USA letter such as Islamic Relief, American Jewish World Service, American Friends Service Committee, Bread for the World, Action Aid, Oxfam, RESULTS and Health Gap.

    Around the world, the Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (Jubilee Asia Pacific) convened 125 global organizations to host actions and events during the IMF and World Bank meetings.

    Read the list of groups and faith communities participating in "Jubilee Weekend: Curing Poverty, Inequality and the Coronavirus," here.

    Read Jubilee USA's COVID-19 Jubilee White House, IMF, G20 Letter here

    Read Jubilee USA's press statement on the IMF and World Bank Development Committee Communiqué here.

    Read Jubilee USA's press statement on the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings and Communiqué here.

    Read Jubilee USA's press release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook and Global Financial Stability reports here

    Read Jubilee USA's press release on the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting here


  • Jubilee USA Statement on World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings and Communiqué

    Washington DC - World leaders, Finance Ministers, heads of corporations and development groups are meeting virtually for the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings. The International Monetary and Financial Committee, the IMF policymaking body, met as part of the Annual IMF and World Bank Meetings. The body discussed policy responses to the global COVID-19 economic crisis, including tax, aid and debt cancellation processes to support developing countries.

    Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert, releases the following statement on the IMFC Communiqué and meeting:

    “Forecasts that more than 110 million people are falling into extreme poverty and that the global economy will contract by 4.4%, are a grim backdrop to these meetings.

    "The IMF analysis released during these meetings notes that the coronavirus economic crisis will increase inequality and extreme poverty.

    "Wealthy countries, who are making decisions for the entire world about the crisis, are more insulated from the extreme shocks of the crisis. Nearly 90% of all global stimulus was spent in wealthy countries and less than 3% in developing countries. 

    "We've seen progress on some debt relief, but the big focus now needs to be on a process to permanently reduce debts of countries in crisis. 

    "The G20 and IMF will hold a special meeting in the coming weeks on a process to permanently cut and restructure debts.

    "Many developing countries in crisis are still left out of debt relief plans. Given that some of the greatest increases in poverty and job loss are in these developing countries, leaders can't afford to wait any longer on moving forward a plan that deals with these countries.

    "Focusing on how the international financial systems works is critical. If we are to seize this moment to resolve this crisis and prevent the next crisis, we must improve global debt and transparency processes.

    "The IMF statement is the strongest to date on the need for private creditors to participate in debt relief.

    "The IMF is making progress on increasing resources for debt cancellation and extending additional concessional lending to the most vulnerable countries.

    "Rich countries holding $176 billion of largely unused IMF-issued global reserve funds are transferring a small amount to support resources for poor countries. These transfers should be scaled up and used to finance debt relief.

    "The IMF should move forward access to trillions of dollars in global reserve funds or the Special Drawing Rights. Developing countries would translate these funds into lifesaving measures."

    Read the IMFC communique here.

    Read Jubilee USA's press release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook and Global Financial Stability reports here

    Read Jubilee USA's press release on the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting here.

     


  • COVID Crisis: G20 Defers Action on Aid, Tax and Debt Cancellation

    Washington DC - G20 finance ministers agreed to extend debt payment relief for the 73 poorest countries and, in principle, to have a common framework to cancel debts. The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors met on global COVID-19 response plans ahead of the Annual IMF and World Bank Meetings.

    "Debt payment relief for the poorest countries is good news, but it's a short term solution,” said Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert. "We're disappointed not to have a stronger agreement on a permanent debt reduction process, yet, but it's hopeful that the G20 is holding a special meeting on this process in the coming weeks.”

    G20 finance ministers will hold a special meeting before G20 presidents and prime ministers meet in November, on a country debt reduction plan or the “Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond DSSI.” The announcement came as the International Monetary Fund forecast a contraction of 4.4 % for this year in the global economy and a recovery that will be long, uneven and prone to setbacks.

    "The only way for some developing countries to have the resources they need to recover from the coronavirus crisis is to have a process that permanently reduces their debts,” stated LeCompte. “Given that some of the greatest increases in poverty and job loss are in these developing countries, the G20 can't afford to wait any longer on moving forward a plan.”

    The G20 expressed disappointment at the absence of private creditor participation in the debt suspension initiative.

    "The G20 should be doing more to press the private sector on debt relief. It seems since April, the position of the G20 has weakened on private sector participation in debt relief,” noted LeCompte. 

    International tax cooperation was also a focus of the G20. The countries had vowed to agree this year to a global plan for taxing digital revenues and ensuring multinationals pay tax, but they now pushed back that timeline to mid-2021.

    “Part of the reason we are in this mess, is because countries aren't raising enough revenues. Now revenues are plummeting in many countries because of the pandemic and the G20 must make more progress on global tax solutions,” explained LeCompte. "An immediate way to combat the coronavirus and support developing countries in crisis is to access trillions of dollars in global reserve funds or the Special Drawing Rights. Unfortunately the G20 made little progress on authorizing what could be a lifesaving measure for countries in crisis."

    Read the G20 communique here.

    Read Jubilee USA's press release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook and Global Financial Stability reports here


  • Jubilee USA Statement on G20 Communiqué on COVID Debt, Tax and Aid Plans

    Washington DC- The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors met on global COVID-19 response plans ahead of the Annual IMF and World Bank Meetings. They agreed to extend debt payment relief for the 73 poorest countries and discussed tax, aid and debt cancellation processes.

    Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert, releases the following statement on the G20 Communiqué and the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting:

    "Debt payment relief for the poorest countries is good news, but it's a short term solution.

    "We're disappointed not to have a stronger agreement on a permanent debt reduction process yet, but it's hopeful that the G20 is holding a special meeting on this process in the coming weeks.

    "The only way for some developing countries to have the resources they need to recover from the coronavirus crisis is to have a process that permanently reduces their debts.

    "The G7, UN agencies, the Pope and hundreds of organizations are calling for a debt relief process so that countries can fight growing poverty and the loss of jobs.

    "The G20 should be doing more to press the private sector on debt relief. It seems since April, the position of the G20 has weakened on private sector participation in debt relief.

    "Too many developing countries in crisis are still left out of debt relief plans. It's positive that G20 negotiations are looking at how to support more countries. Given that some of the greatest increases in poverty and job loss are in these developing countries, the G20 can't afford to wait any longer on moving forward a plan.

    "The G20 had vowed to make more progress on a global plan for taxing digital revenues and ensuring multinationals pay tax. Part of the reason we are in this mess, is because countries aren't raising revenues. Now revenues are plummeting in many countries because of the pandemic and the G20 must make more progress on global tax solutions.

    "One of the most important ways to combat the coronavirus and support developing countries in crisis is to access trillions of dollars in global reserve funds or the Special Drawing Rights. Unfortunately the G20 made little progress on authorizing what could be a lifesaving measure for countries in crisis."

    Read the G20 communique here.

    Read Jubilee USA's press release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook and Global Financial Stability reports here

  • IMF Economic Reports: Inequality and Poverty Rising Amidst COVID Crisis

    Washington DC – Analyzing the economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus, the International Monetary Fund released the Global Financial Stability Report and the 2020 World Economic Outlook Report, "A Long and Difficult Ascent." The economic outlook report projects global economic growth to contract 4.4%.

    "While we understand that the IMF wants to look at the crisis with some positivity, the word ascent has little place in this report. It seems that most countries are still descending,” stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert. “More than 90 million people could enter the ranks of extreme poverty this year and many countries will lose development gains they have made since the 1990s.”

    According to the World Economic Outlook Report, income disparities between developed and developing economies is projected to worsen.

    "It's not a surprise that the coronavirus economic crisis will worsen inequality and extreme poverty," said LeCompte. "Nearly 90% of all global stimulus was spent in wealthy countries and less than 3% in developing countries."

    The IMF cautions that its projections rely on hard to predict public health and economic factors and outcomes could be worse.

    The IMF Global Financial Stability report addressed the rising financial needs of developing countries due to the pandemic and rising costs of borrowing.

    “Developing countries need their debts cut and access to more aid if they are to survive this crisis,” noted LeCompte.

    The G20, IMF and World Bank are meeting this week on responses to the coronavirus health and economic crisis.

    Read the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

    Read the IMF's Global Financial Stability report here.

     


  • canceled rsvp for Jubilee USA Network Council Meeting - Nov. 5th, 2020 2020-10-23 18:13:26 -0400

    Jubilee USA Network Council Meeting - Nov. 5th, 2020


    We are excited to see you at Jubilee USA Network Council Meeting on Thursday, November 5th to be held virtually from 10:15 AM to 3:30 PM.

    At this year’s meeting we will focus heavily on our coronavirus relief campaigns, we will share the victories we have won so far, and strategize for the challenges ahead. It will feature presentations from high-level policymakers, experts, Jubilee members, staff and partners.

    Please RSVP and you will be sent the WebEx link to use the day of the meeting.

    Jubilee USA Network Council Meeting
    November 5, 2020

    10:15 am | Welcome and Opening Prayer

    10:30 am | Joining Hands to Beat the Coronavirus Crisis: A Roundtable with International Partners

    • Jean Saldanha: Director, EURODAD
    • Lidy Nacpil: Coordinator, Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development
    • Theofilus Jong Yungong: Executive Director, AFRODAD 
    • Patricia Miranda: Advocacy Coordinator, LATINDADD

    11:15 am | Business Meeting/ Board Consent/ Jubilee USA Year End Review

    12:00 pm | Lunch break

    12:30 pm | Building an Inclusive Economy in Africa in COVID-19 Times

    • Card. Peter Turkson: Prefect, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development 
    • H.E. Ken Ofori-Atta: Minister of Finance, Ghana*
    • Academic or CSO expert (Africa)*
    • Aldo Caliari: Senior Director of Policy and Campaigns, Jubilee USA

    1:30 pm | Financing a Climate-resilient and Just Recovery 

    • Kevin Gallagher: Director of Global Development Policy Center, Boston University

    2:00 pm | Puerto Rico Update

    • Laura Esquivel: Vice President, Federal Policy and Advocacy, Hispanic Federation
    • The Reverend Heriberto Martínez Rivera:General Secretary of the Puerto Rico Bible Society, Coordinator of Puerto Rico Ecumenical Coalition on the Debt
    • Adi Martinez Roman: Senior Policy Analyst – Puerto Rico, Oxfam America

    2:45 pm | Realizing the Jubilee Promise in a Coronavirus Vulnerable World: What Will It Take?

    • Martin Guzman: Minister of Finance, Argentina
    • Gita Gopinath*: IMF Chief Economist
    • Anna Gelpern: Agnes N. Williams Research Professor, Georgetown Law
    • ITUC Representative*
    • Eric LeCompte:Executive Director, Jubilee USA

    3:30 pm | Closing Prayer

    Contact Zach Conti at zach@jubileeusa.com for questions about this event. 

    WHEN
    November 05, 2020 at 10:15am
    WHERE
    WebEx Meeting - Please RSVP to be sent the link the day of the event.
    Washington, DC
    United States
    Google map and directions
    rsvp

  • IMF Calls for New Global Debt Policies to Confront COVID Financial Crisis

    Washington DC - IMF head Kristalina Georgieva warned that developing countries could face a second wave of economic crises just as they are recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. "... There is a need to reform the international debt 'architecture' ... to provide speedy and sufficiently deep debt relief to countries that need it, benefitting not only these countries but the system as a whole," wrote Georgieva and other top IMF officials in a Fund blog published Thursday.
     
    "The IMF is declaring that global processes and policies must be reformed to address skyrocketing debt levels and countries facing debt crises," shared Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA and a UN finance expert. "If we had better debt processes in place before the coronavirus struck, we may not have experienced an economic crisis of this magnitude."
     
    In addition to international debt policy and process reforms, the Georgieva blog asserts the G20 should continue suspending debt payments for poor countries.

    In April, the G20 agreed to the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, a process for the 73 poorest countries to stop paying debts through 2020. The initiative allowed 43 of the poorest countries to free $5.3 billion for health and social spending to respond to the pandemic. Without G20 action, the initiative expires at the end of the year. 

    "Unless we move forward additional aid and debt relief, too many countries could see lost decades of development," said LeCompte.

    According to the IMF, about half of low-income countries faced severely high debt levels or financial crisis prior to the onslaught of COVID-19.

    "Debt relief and aid needs to be increased and expanded to include more developing countries struggling to confront the health and economic impacts of the pandemic," noted LeCompte. "As we reform debt processes and policies to meet this current crisis, we must also strengthen processes to prepare us to combat future financial crises."

    Read Georgieva's IMF blog here

  • UN, Presidents and Prime Ministers Discuss Coronavirus Financial Crisis Solutions

    Washington DC – Presidents, prime ministers and world leaders focused on solutions for the global economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus at a virtual United Nations meeting. "Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond," is the largest heads of state meeting organized to confront the financial crisis created by the pandemic. 

    "Six months into the pandemic and hundreds of millions of people are experiencing hunger, losing their jobs and being thrown into the ranks of poverty," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. LeCompte was part of the multi-month process that developed the options considered by world leaders at the special UN meeting. "Poor and vulnerable people bear the brunt of this economic crisis."

    The UN estimates 265 million people now face famine and 100 million people will enter extreme poverty due to the pandemic. Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, 500 million jobs were lost according to the International Labor Organization.

    Developing countries spent less than 3% of the $11 trillion spent on COVID stimulus packages and economic aid. Nearly 90% of these stimulus monies were spent in wealthy countries.

    "World leaders are considering options to bolster crisis response aid for developing countries," stated LeCompte. "Debt relief, curbing tax evasion and accessing global reserve funds are some of the options on the table."

    The heads of state meeting was convened by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau and Andrew Holmes, the Prime Minister of Jamaica.

    In October the G20, IMF and World Bank could implement some of the solutions discussed at the UN meeting.


  • G7 Finance Ministers Support Debt Relief for Poor Countries Combating COVID-19 Crisis

    Washington DC - The G7 supports a process for debt cancellation for vulnerable countries, they announced this morning after Treasury convened a special Finance Ministers meeting. In a G7 statement, the ministers also encouraged an extension of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) into next year for the world’s 73 poorest countries.

    "The G7 recognizes that some countries will need debt cancellation and now is calling for a process to cut debts," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert. "With the poorest countries struggling with the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus, countries desperately need more aid and debt relief."

    In April, the G20 agreed to a process for the 73 poorest countries to stop paying debts through 2020. So far, the initiative has allowed 43 of the poorest countries to free $5.3 billion for health and social spending to respond to the pandemic.

    The G7 statement encouraged private creditors and banks to "voluntarily" participate in the debt payment suspension and seemed to criticize China for not fully participating in the initiative.

    "Reading between the lines, the G7's statement is hard on China and weak on private creditor participation," said LeCompte. "All Chinese government entities should stop taking debt payments from poor countries and stronger action must be taken to ensure the private sector joins the coronavirus debt relief initiatives."

    Earlier this month, several Finance Ministers joined the World Bank and IMF chiefs in calling to extend the DSSI into 2021 and arguing that private creditors should stop collecting poor country debts.

    "It's time to extend debt relief initiatives to all developing countries, including Middle-Income Countries, struggling with the coronavirus pandemic," shared LeCompte. 

    In October and November, G20, IMF and World Bank meetings will discuss the future of coronavirus debt suspension and relief efforts.

    Read the G7 Statement here.